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Day trip from Dubai

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Updated: October 12, 2021
 By Pri

Abu Dhabi is the capital and largest of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The city offers year-round sunshine, a clean, safe environment, and excellent beaches. Contrasting to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is quiet, conserved and has untainted cultural beliefs. Although the endorsed language of the city is Arabic, English is as extensively spoken, and visitors will not face any communication difficulties. Transport within the city and to neighboring cities is clean, cheap and much efficient.

Here is our guide on top things to do in Abu Dhabi if you want to explore the city on your own. The duration of the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is around 2 hours and you can commute either by Bus or by Taxi/Cab. The bus ticket for a one-way journey from Ibn Battuta MS bus station to Abu Dhabi will cost you close to $6.8 (AED 25). A taxi or Uber will cost you around $70 to $90 (AED 250 to AED 330). You can reach the Ibn Batuta Bus Stop by Dubai Metro (Ibn Batuta Metro Station). Here is our guide on how to use the Dubai Metro.

  1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This landmark building is worth visiting for the architectural masterpiece which represents a key fixture of the city’s architectural patrimony. The mosque has white marble domes, which reminiscent the Taj Mahal of India, and the complete structure was constructed with materials from countries around the world. These materials include marble, stone, semi-precious stones, gold, crystals, and ceramics. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center was designed as a place of day-to-day worship and Friday gathering. The mosque is large enough to handle the gathering of around 41,000 people. Inside the mosque, there is the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet which was crafted by 1,200 artisans along with attractive mosaics and intricate glasswork.

It will take around 20 minutes to reach the mosque from central Abu Dhabi by taxi. Visitors are required to cover shoulders and legs and women must cover their hair, robes will be provided free of charge. Also, check our guide for details on the dress code to enter the mosque. Entry to the mosque is free and visiting hours are from 9 am to 10 pm Saturday to Thursday, and 4.30 pm to 10 pm on Fridays. You can also find free guided tours between specific hours of the day.

In recent years, the Grand Mosque was listed among the top global attractions for its brilliant architectural delight.

  1. The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the Middle East’s most spectacular museum which has a large number of the permanent collection of pieces of arts displayed across around 23 state-of-the-art galleries. The museum traces civilization from all over the world and tells us the story of humanity’s artistic achievement from ancient times to the present day. This museum holds the art collection of some of the world-famous artists including the works by da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, and Matisse. The museum has mind-boggling diversity of art on display, from ancient Egyptian statuary to famous paintings by Picasso. The contemporary architecture, with its galleries gathered under an enormous silver dome, is itself a reason to visit this museum. The Louvre is the first planned major museum to open on Saadiyat Island which has become a cultural heartbeat of Abu Dhabi.

  1. Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn, also known as the White Fort or Old Fort, is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi and it is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. Dating from the 18th century, the palace was the residence of the reigning family, the seat of Government and sea stone watchtower. The interior of the Fort has been restructured and is now used as a museum with historical photographs and oral histories that traces the history and culture of Abu Dhabi. The courtyard and main northern gate which has magnificent tile work are among the notable features of this fort.

  1. Emirates Palace Hotel

Designed by British architect, Emirates Palace hotel is cherished Islamic architectural creation which is a combination of fundamentals such as balance, geometry, proportions, rhythm and hierarchical emphasis to create a unified whole. The grand dome at the center and over 114 smaller domes are spread over the building. The construction started in the year 2001 and the gates of the hotel open in 2005 with the construction costs of around 3 billion USD (11.02 billion AED) making it the third most expensive hotel ever built. Emirates Palace, which is Abu Dhabi’s most recognized hotel, allows non-guests to look around free of cost, making it one of the major tourist attractions in the city.  

  1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

The world’s largest indoor theme park will surely come under the city’s top things to do. There are numerous rides for children and adrenaline junkies can buckle up for the world’s fastest and tallest roller-coaster which can reach the speed of 120 kilometers per hour on a 52-meter loop. The theme park with various events and performs is aimed mainly at families and children. Some of the rides have restrictions of minimum height but most of the rides are open to all.

The park also brings the thrill of Formula One racing and a variety of exhibitions featuring vintage cars and racing simulators. Ferrari World holds a large collection of Ferrari's cars, with models dating back to 1947. If you are a true car nerd, then you can also go for a Ferrari factory tour and Ferrari knowledge game show. The theme park opens daily from 11 am to 8 pm and Adult tickets will cost from AED 233 ($65) per adult online in advance.

  1. A day in the desert

If you want to experience a sense of space and peace, then you should not miss the day in the desert. You can go on a day trip or overnight trip from Abu Dhabi city for a desert safari to beautiful Liwa Oasis which lays on the edge of Empty Quarter or to the Al Khatim Desert near Al Ain. World’s largest dunes can be seen in the Empty Quarter desert and the dunes are a fantastic playground for sandboarding, vehicles riding in the dune, camel trekking, or simply soak up the vast star-strewn desert sky after dark at a desert camp. These trips include a stop to visit a camel farm and offer a taste of traditional desert life. The visitors having a short time to spend can go for the Evening Desert Safari, offering a six-hour tour into the emirate's desert vicinities. After the tour to the dune scape, visitors will be taken to a desert camp to witness traditional Tanura and belly dancing followed by dinner.


If you wish to take a guided trip to Abu Dhabi, here are our recommendations for you.

  1. Abu Dhabi City Tour by Dubai by Foot

This Abu Dhabi One Day Tour covers about 75% of the city’s main attractions in a short, well-organized trip with our world-class guides. The tour will include pick-up and drop-off facilities along with the lunch for all the guests. Abu Dhabi city tour will focus on the heritage of Abu Dhabi and its connection with the Royal Family (Al Nahyan Family), and the vision of its rulers. It will cover top things to do in Abu Dhabi like Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Yas Island, Heritage Village, Saadiyat Island, Emirates Palace, Corniche, Ferrari World (Optional, subject to time availability).

Tickets: AED 360 per person or USD 99/person.

Tour Duration: 7-8 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM and will end at around 6 PM

  1. Premium Abu Dhabi Full Day City Tour

We recommend you take this premium and highly rated tour to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. The tour will cover all the major attractions in Abu Dhabi with stopovers for photoshoots as well. The tour package will include tickets to the Etihad Towers observation deck and the Palace, Garden, and other public spaces within the premise of Qasr Al Watan.

Tickets: AED 300 per person or USD 85 per person.

Tour Duration: 9 Hours

Pick up Time: 8 AM onwards

  1. Abu Dhabi City Tour

This tour package is crafted with cautiously picked highlights of Abu Dhabi to ensure that you don’t miss out to take in its significant sights. This is one of the most cost-effective tour packages which cover all the most visiting places in Abu Dhabi.

Tickets: AED 135 or USD 40 (Without Lunch) and AED 195 or USD 55 (With Lunch)

Tour Duration: 9-10 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 08:30


  1. Abu Dhabi City Sightseeing Tours

Explore the sights and landmarks of Abu Dhabi City with customized options along with your Abu Dhabi city tour ranging from Ferrari World to Louvre museum and Warner Bros. The tour will have photo stops at all the destinations and one-stop for lunch as well.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 295 or USD 80

Tour Duration: Full Day

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM


  1. Private Tour: Abu Dhabi Full-Day City sightseeing

Orient tours provide one of the top-rated private day trips to Abu Dhabi. The tour covers all the major tourist attractions like Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed Centre, the Heritage Village, Saadiyat Island, and Ferrari World.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 1050 or USD 285

Tour Duration: 8-9 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM


  1. Abu Dhabi Small-Group Day Trip from Dubai by Private Dubai Tours

With this tour package you will enjoy an Abu Dhabi city sightseeing in a small group atmosphere. This is also one of the top-rated guided tour packages which covers the top major attractions in Abu Dhabi.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 1050 or USD 285

Tour Duration: 8-9 Hours


  1. Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City by ABC Tours Dubai

Being a cost-effective tour package with good reviews, this is one of our recommended tour to explore the Abu Dhabi city.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 190 or USD 50

Tour Duration: 10 Hours

About The Author


Pri is a true believer in the Rule of Three - she lives between Dubai, Bombay and Washington DC, speaks three languages and has 3 kids under 3. She graduated from Connecticut College and has a Masters Degree from New York University. Pri is a licensed Dubai tour guide, travel blogger, art aficionado, foodie and curious to check out all things new in her city. Pri has been part of the Free Tours By Foot team since 2015 and loves to make customized itineraries for her guests.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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